Manitoba’s cold snap wreaking havoc on vehicles across province: CAA

CAA driver works on hooking up a car Monday morning. Brittany Greenslade / Global News

It’s been a tough weekend to be a car battery in Manitoba.

With ambient temperatures hovering around -30C since Friday, it’s meant a lot of cars aren’t willing to start, keeping CAA crews extremely busy.

“Since Friday we’ve rescued over 1,500 members,” communications specialist Christia Mariash tells 680 CJOB. “We’re seeing a mix of battery-related calls and tows.”

That’s left a lot of people waiting on the phone lines for service, but Mariash says so far, Manitobans have been taking it in stride.

“We’re experiencing very high call volumes. On Saturday alone, we had 1,500 calls — on a normal winter’s day, we see 300 to 400 calls across the province.”

The entire province has been blanketed with an extreme cold warning since late Friday night, and there isn’t much relief in sight.

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With extended cold snaps like the one we’re experiencing now, Mariash says keeping that vehicle battery healthy is important, or Manitobans could end up shelling out some money for a new one.

“You don’t have to plug your car in all night, but we do recommend plugging (your vehicle) in at least three hours before you plan on going anywhere. Plug it in, pull it out and make sure you see that spark — it’s very important.”

For those Manitobans lucky enough to be able to start their vehicle from inside thanks to a remote charger, Mariash says don’t do it for more than two cycles, because that could cause serious wear on the battery or starter.

Read more: Winnipeg police warn motorists to drive safely, offer winter tips

CAA also recommends drivers keep a fully stocked emergency car kit in their vehicles with items like water, granola bars, a blanket, and candles in case they end up stranded during a deep freeze.

Anytime the temperature is lower than -15C, Mariash says it’s a good idea to plug in your car.

There shouldn’t be much confusion for Manitobans in the coming days — the province isn’t expecting a daytime high temperature of more than -20C until at least next weekend.

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